Mental Health & Illnesses 101
Mental Health Scramble

Everyone has mental health.

Yes, mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It's our feelings, thoughts, emotions, and mood. 


Does everyone have anxiety?

Yes, anxiety is a natural emotion.


True or False: Only adults suffer from real depression.

False, 1.9 million youth between ages 3-17 have been diagnosed with depression. It is one of the most common mental health concerns among teens. 


True or False: Asking for help when you're struggling with your mental health means you're weak.

False - asking for help is a sign of strength and a desire to get better


True or False: Mental Illnesses are very common.

True, About 1 in 5 American adults and 1 in 5 children will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives - that's 20%!


Name two reasons people may not get help for mental health concerns...

Stigma or shame

Denial/ "Nothing's really wrong"

Cost/Lack of Insurance

Physical Access/Don't know Where to Get Help

Can't really put what they are feeling in words

Distrust/Lack of Providers That They Feel Safe With


Name three signs of anxiety.

Excessive sweating, Fast heartbeat, Trembling/twitching, Worrying, Panic, High alertness, Poor concentration, Stomach issues (bubble guts), No motivation, Avoidance, Social withdrawal, etc. 


Name three signs of depression.

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness that lasts more than just a week
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as spending time with friends, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

True or False: Self-medicating mental health issues with drugs or alcohol can have long-term negative impacts.

True, drugs and alcohol don't actually fix the problems, even if it makes you feel "good" short term, they leave long term negative impacts. 


What is a coping skill?

Coping skills are strategies that help people deal with mental health challenges in order to achieve positive mental health and wellbeing.


Name three things that can impact our mental health.



Unhealthy Relationships/Family/Friendships


Unemployment/Lack of Resources


Sleeping problems

Life Events or Stages (new parent, childhood trauma, puberty, moving into adulthood, etc)

Alcohol/Drug Use


Name two things you should NOT do to a friend that shows anxiety.

Make fun of them, Ignore them, Make them feel alone, etc.


True or False: Depression has to be triggered by a tragic event.

False, depression can "come out of the blue". Nothing dramatic or tragic has to happen to cause depression. Additionally, if depression runs in your family you are more likely to experience depression as well. 


How do know if it may be a good idea for you or a friend to seek therapy?

If a behavior, mood, or emotion is impacting your everyday life. If it gets in the way of you being the best you can be in your relationships, in school, at work, or impacts your physical health it may be a good idea to seek help.


What is a trauma?

Your emotional or physical response to anything that you consider too overwhelming without enough support to understand or cope with. This could be abuse, accidents, parent separation, natural disasters, etc.


How is Mental Illness different from Mental Health?

Everyone has mental health - it's our thoughts, feelings, mood, and emotions.

Mental illness is an illness that affects the way people think, feel, behave, or interact with others. Mental illness is a term used to group many different illnesses and they all have different symptoms that impact peoples' lives in different ways. 

Ex: Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, etc.


How do you know when anxiety has turned into something you should seek help for?

When anxiety starts to impact daily functioning

Such as trouble sleeping, not getting work done due to your worries, avoiding situations/area, your realize your worries are unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation, etc. 


What do antidepressants attempt to help and how long does it take for them to start having an effect?

They try to correct imbalances in neurotransmitters that influence depression, and usually between 2 to 4 weeks.


True or False: You need to know exactly what you're going to say and how you're going to say it before you talk to a counselor/therapist.


Counselors are there to listen to whatever is troubling you, and you can open up to them at a pace that you are comfortable with. 

Tip: If you feel like you might get nervous and freeze up, it often helps to write things down before your next session. This also helps you to organize your thoughts and put things in perspective.


True or False: Medication is the only treatment method that works for mental health issues.


Medication can be helpful and is sometimes necessary depending on the severity of the issue, but other methods such as therapy and support groups can also be very helpful, especially when all are combined.


Your sister calls and talks to you about your niece. She says, "Your niece wants to tell everyone they have a mental illness, but I KNOW they are just wanting to make people feel bad for them." What do you say or do...

Nicely, educate your sister about mental health and mental illness being a real thing. Tell her that saying it's not real only makes it worse for your niece. Tell your sister that your niece should feel supported and be encouraged to get help.


Your friend has sweaty armpits, sweats from his forehead, and paces back in forth before going into a meeting. He does not want to go in because he doesn't want to talk in front of everyone. He says, "I'm just going to say my stomach hurts and have another member of the team do the presentation" What do you say or do...

Encourage your friend to talk with a counselor or someone he trusts about their anxiety.

Don't make fun of him or make him feel alone.

Explain that this plan is not going to work forever so coming up with a different plan would work best.


A friend has been acting weird lately so you go over to their house to talk to them about it. When you arrive, you can tell they have been crying. In their bathroom, you see razor and bloody tissues in the trash. What will you say/do in this moment...

Don't be judgmental. Show them that you care.

Try to get them to talk to you about what's wrong. Try to get them to talk to someone they trust (a crisis helpline, a counselor, etc). Talk to them about where they can get help. Don't leave them alone until you both have a plan in place for what to do next.


Your friend wants to talk to their partner about the way they've been feeling but they don't know where to start. Help your friend start the conversation. Give them the first 3 lines of what they should say...




What are some untruths you've heard about mental health and illness?

Improv :)

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